Day: February 4th, 2007

Super Bowl Sunday 2007

Sunday, February 4th, 2007 | All Things, Arts, Friends, NYC History

At the Public Theater for this month’s installment of 365 Days, 365 Plays — the yearlong, nationwide staging of works by Suzan-Lori Parks, who wrote one play a day from Nov. 13, 2002 to Nov. 12, 2003. (Hence the festival’s title.) Beginning November 13, 2006, nearly 700 theaters in more than 30 cities around the country began presenting Park’s plays. The drama experiment was the subject of features on both NPR and PBS.

Parks is the author of nine full-length plays, including Topdog/Underdog for which, in 2002, she became the first black woman to win the Pulitzer Prize for Drama. She is also the recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship genius grant.

I had missed out on the last two installments, so this time around I made sure to arrive at the theater early enough to secure a seat. No problem at all: the bone-chilling cold seemed to have kept many people at home that afternoon… plus there was that whole “Super Bowl” thing going on…

The 365 plays are distributed among theater companies in one week batches; the selected groups produce their own seven-play assignments, and the first Sunday of every month through mid-November 2007, the Public hosts a show in which each of the previous four weeks’ worth of plays are presented in one sitting.

So this afternoon, I sat back to take in 29 plays over two hours — Parks wrote two for Groundhog Day, naturally. The pieces varied widely in length and in subject; so too did the staging concepts by the 4 (of 65 participating) New York City theater groups: The New Group, Clubbed Thumb, Ars Nova and Barrow Street Theatre. Some scripts featured just two characters, others entire companies; some were acted out on a barren stage, others featured elaborate AV props and musical numbers; some pieces seemed date-specific, others were set in the distant past, or in an alternate reality.

Astor Place at dusk, the site of an 1849 riot in which 22 people were killed outside the old Astor Place Opera House after a performance of Macbeth — the result of an ongoing thespian quarrel that catalyzed latent class tensions in 19th century Manhattan.

Astor Place

And then the long ride out to Queens for SYB’s party. Super Bowl XLI — that’s 41 for the roman-numerically challenged — Colts vs. Bears.

Queensboro Plaza

I made it to Sunnyside in time to hear Billy Joel sing the national anthem, after which I caught up with the newlyweds over cassoulet and brie. Made it through two quarters just to catch Prince’s halftime show, which was awesome, though I didn’t quite understand the random assortment of covers: Creedence Clearwater Revival, Bob Dylan and the Foo Fighters (?!) But The Artist can still shred a mean guitar, and by “Purple Rain” — in the rain! – I was glad I stuck it out, phallic shadow show or no.

Oh, the drama.

There are 2 comments